New research from the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) suggests that Australians are embracing the digital economy, with growth in the volume of data downloaded and online activities since June 2009.
ACMA chairman, Chris Chapman, said in a statement that most Australians have access to the internet at multiple locations, whether at home or work.
“Mobile internet is emerging as a complement to traditional fixed line internet, allowing increased flexibility in terms of where and how the internet is accessed," he said.
The report found that as of June 2010, 77 per cent of the population 14 years and over were connected to the internet at home and 66 per cent had a broadband connection.
Nearly 2.4 million people used the internet via their handheld mobile during June 2010, up from 1.6 million during June 2009.
Chapman said that over the past five years, the frequency of internet use in Australia has increased to the point where 28 per cent of people 14 years and over were estimated to be heavy users (online more than 15 hours a week) in June 2010.
A further 27 per cent were considered medium users (between 7 and 15 hours a week) and 23 per cent light users (up to 7 hours a week). Only 14 per cent were deemed to be heavy users during June 2005.
“To the majority of Australians the internet is not just an entertainment tool but increasingly an essential part of their everyday lives, providing access to critical information and services. Australians now use the internet for a wide range of activities with communications, research, information, banking and finance and general browsing being most popular,” said Chapman.
Due to faster internet speeds, the volume of information and content accessed by Australians via the internet is growing significantly, with 155,503 terabytes of data downloaded in Australia during the June quarter of 2010, compared to 99,249 terabytes during 2009, a year on year increase of almost 57 per cent.
The research also found that online social networking continues to be a major driving force in the increasing intensity of online participation. During June 2010, 8.7 million Australians accessed mainstream social networking sites such as Facebook and YouTube from home, spending in total more than 41.5 million hours on these sites.
ACMA reports that the internet is also becoming an important source of news and information with over 6 million people accessing mainstream online news sites from home during June 2010.